You might have already asked yourself why windstorms and anticyclones have names of people as well as how these names are assigned. Here is the response!

Why name a storm?

In Europe, the windstorms were originally named in accordance with the year, the date, or any other way that made them known. It was only in the 50’s that a German meteorologist (a student at the time) proposed giving names to windstorms in order to make tracking them more efficient and simpler to understand, not only by professionals, but also the general public.

How does the windstorm get its name?

Until 2002, the Institute for Meteorology of the Free University Berlin had defined the list of names to give windstorms.

Female names were given to windstorms during even years, and male names were given during odd years. The system for naming anticyclones was the opposite.

Since 2002, this institute allows anyone to give a name, including his or her own first name to a windstorm or anticyclone.

The rules to follow are:

  • Pay €199 (about £170) for a windstorm and €299 (about £250) for an anticyclone
  • Respect the principal of the female or male names in accordance with even or odd years
  • No hyphenated names, last names, or brand names

The list of names for 2013 is almost complete! But there are still a few letters remaining like Q, X, Y, and Z that haven’t yet found names!

FYI, the first windstorm in 2013 was named Alfredo!

If you want to name a windstorm or an anticyclone, visit the page Adopt a Vortex.



Photosource : Kim Hill,, (CC BY 2.0)